AD – This post is in paid partnership with James Wellbeloved but all thoughts are my own
With the biggest dog show just around the corner, the Crufts competitors will be training harder than ever in the hope that their perfect pooch will take that first prize in Best in Show. And the attention on the best practices for training and taking care of your furry best friend will be even higher than usual. Crufts offers viewers and dog owners a ton of helpful advice on training, nutrition and health of your pet.
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I have a dog and that he’s the best dog in the world (but let’s be honest, every dog is the best dog in the world). His puppy training days are long gone, now that he’s 8 years old but he still acts like a mischievous, naughty puppy, the majority of the time.
If I’m being absolutely transparent, we weren’t really prepared for a dog at the time that we got him. It was a very spur of the moment decision for me and my family. Of course we wouldn’t be without him and he’s an absolute light in all of our lives – constantly making us laugh, smile and… tear our hair out occasionally.
His training was pretty limited.
We took him to puppy classes that our vet put on once a week. That was less of a training class and more of a chance for puppies to meet each other and socialise. In fact, thinking about it now, I’m pretty sure they were called “puppy parties“, so you can imagine how much training got done at those.
We also took him to proper training classes, in a hall with around ten other dogs. Ten other much more well behaved dogs. Look, I’m just going to say it… he was an absolute embarrassment in that class. He was very hard to train. Toilet training? Fine. He got that DOWN when he was super young. But anything that involved actually having to do what he was told?
Rory (oh, his name is Rory, I forgot to mention!) just loves doing his own thing. He’s his own man. An independent lone ranger. I love him to death exactly how he is but if I could go back to when he was a puppy, I’d definitely do a few things differently.
Stick with it for longer
This is the main one and probably the biggest one. Training a puppy is not a 5 minute job – no matter what breed you have or how well behaved they are. We didn’t stick with it for long enough. It’s as simple as that. I think we just kinda accepted the fact that he was a naughty dog and that was “just him”. But all dogs can be trained to behave.
Educate myself on nutrition earlier and more effectively
This is a big one for us and Rory because he’s had a few health problems in his life which have certainly affected and been affected by what he eats. As recently as this January actually when he was violently ill one day and we had to cut out a lot of the stuff he usually eats. Gosh, is there anything worse than seeing your dog ill?
But of course nutrition is a massive element of a puppy’s life and training – which continues throughout their entire life. So getting educated on dog nutrition early on is never going to hurt. Sometimes, the bog standard stuff on the supermarket shelves just isn’t going to cut it. And it’s so important to understand the health benefits of the different food you’re feeding your dog in his or hers young life.
I basically had no knowledge of the different healthier types of dog food available, such as grain free dog food – I left it all up to my Mum. She’s had a few dogs in her life so of course she’d know, right? That’s what I thought until she tried giving him a Christmas dinner when he was one year old.
We all know that a healthy diet and exercise is crucial for our dog’s well-being so if I was to ever do this dog thing again, I’d definitely take more time to educate myself on nutrition. Before we move on to the next point, Rory was lucky to try some samples of the healthy James Wellbeloved Grain Free Turkey with Vegetables pet food.
Did I mention this? But Rory LOVES food. He loves dog food. He loves human food. He loves things that aren’t food. He just loves eating. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, we do have to keep his diet quite strict in terms of his morning and evening meals because he needs special food to keep certain health conditions under control.
But we do switch it up sometimes so I was excited to try him of the James Wellbeloved Grain Free Turkey with Vegetable pouches. He has pouches of this sort of size anyway so the amount of food in them was perfect. HOWEVER… guess what he DOESN’T eat?
Except with these pouches! He absolutely devoured the whole thing – including the vegetables. Which honestly, I’m a little surprised about because he proper turns his nose up at vegetables usually! The James Wellbeloved pouches contain no soya, wheat, dairy or eggs and provide your pooch with heart and joint support, immune system support, natural omega 3 and natural fats. Yay!
Train him to walk off the lead
One of the saddest things for me is the fact that my dog was so poorly trained as a puppy that he’s never been able to have a public walk off his lead. Of course you have to be smart as to where and when you let your dog off a lead but for us, we don’t even have a choice. If he saw a squirrel, another dog or a crisp packet… he’d be off. And we’d be unlikely to see him again.
Prepare myself better beforehand
And finally, before the dog even entered our life, I’d have definitely liked to have been more prepared. As I said, getting Rory was a very spur of the moment decision for us. He was being looked after by a friend of a friend because his previous owners couldn’t keep him. They didn’t want any money for him, just a loving home.
Which is what we gave him. Oh boy have we given him a loving home.
But we were ill-prepared for a dog. The day we brought him home, we had nothing for him! My Mum had to shoot round to the shops to buy everything he needed.
So yes, it’s safe to say, if I did this dog thing again in the future, which I hope I do, I’d definitely go about it VERY differently.